Picnic Photos

With my friend Toni at ITC Picnic

Well friends by now you have all seen the news.  Over 50 mushers signed up the first day at the volunteer appreciation picnic.  You can see the complete list of mushers here, and yes you will find my name on there. And that is how another year of insanity begins!!! Continue reading

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Naming…

“you give a dog a bad name, and that dog is bad for life.”
― Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

Which is why the naming of puppies always take us so long.  There are some logical rules to naming Dew Claw dogs, “2 syllables, can’t rhyme with NO”. But there is also the emotional side, how does the name ‘feel’? is it fun to yell? does it fit the dog? This often turns into a multi day discussion with Dan and I bouncing ideas off each other. And if we are talking inside, more often than not, the discussions evolve into us just playing with puppies, which has lead to a humongous drop in productivity around Dew Claw.

I know I have used this rational before, and it is no less true today, but really how am I supposed to sit there and responsibly blog when right next to the desk is total puppy adorableness!!! And not just the usual litter of adorable future race dogs. We have those thanks to our dear Sweet Pea giving birth to 3 lovely puppies on Mothers Day. This year we also have a new side-kick dog. A super cute blue healer puppy has joined us. She came to us very young, and with only two settings, crazy-happy-bitey-bouncy or asleep. Continue reading

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Iditarod Snippets 2016

Or “The Stories you Didn’t Read in the News”

Thanks to the Internet, social media, GPS trackers, and Iditarod Insider everyone can follow the race in real time.  Y’all know where the mushers are at any point in time, and what we did when. But that is only part of the story, and to every epic story there is always a great back story, or at least some funny out-takes.  This year in place of the traditional race wrap up I thought it would be much more fun to share some of those snippets.

At the start of Iditarod 2016 - photo credit Antonia Reitter

At the start of Iditarod 2016 – photo credit Antonia Reitter

Starting Out –

I love this photo from the start, love how it captures the moment.  I look so relaxed and happy. And if you look closely in the sunglasses you can see the reflection of my team running smoothly in front of me. The same view I have from the back of the sled. And there is so much going on behind those glasses. Continue reading

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Decisions, decisions….

Dew Claw

“Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.”
Sophocles

And that is why we are taking every opportunity and all the time we need to decide who will eventually be on the race team I travel to Nome with this year.

Recently my friend Flat Jacob joined Madeline and I on a training run with the race dogs. He has really enjoyed checking out the beautiful scenery of the White Mountainous where we train, but he is also looking forward to joining me on the Iditarod trail this year.  And like me, he is impressed with how good all of the dogs we have trained this year are looking.  Which is not making our final decision any easier. Continue reading

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Q&A with 3rd Graders

Well it is that time of year again, where we take on a large and scary task. Yup time for me to answer student’s questions. Anyone who has worked with kids know they have no problems asking the tough questions, so I never know what to expect when I do this project.

Dew ClawEvery year students across the nation learn about Iditarod in the classroom. And at Dew Claw we try in our small way to support teachers who are using the Iditarod in creative ways to engage students. As part of that every year we pick a class to send us questions to answer in our blog.  This year we worked with 3 Third Grade classes: Mrs. Hebl’s class, Mr. Eggersdorfer ‘ s class and Mrs. Koble’s class, all from Roosevelt Elementary School in Minnesota. And it was really a partnership, I will be answering the questions students have about the race and mushing.  And in return they decorated quart sized freezer bags that I used to pack my personal gear and supplies for drop bags. So while I am on the trail, at every checkpoint I have some beautiful artwork to cheer me up.

So here we go, the students had some great questions and I will do my best to answer them here…. Continue reading

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What not to ask your musher in Dawson…

Well between training runs and packing drop bags I can’t help but sneak a peak at the Yukon Quest trackers to see who is where.  And currently teams are either in, or headed to their mandatory 36 hour rest in Dawson. Got me thinking about back when I was handling for Dan and the team in Dawson.

Mushers arrive trail worn and a bit weary, although glad to be there and looking forward to the respite of 36 hours in one place and the help of a trusted handler crew. It is actually hard to explain what it feels like to come off 500 miles of mostly solitary trail and into the bustling scene that is Dawson during the Quest. And I am sure for each musher it is different as each has traveled their own personal journey (both literally and figuratively) to get to that point. But experience has taught me a few things about the arrival in Dawson…  Too much talking is not a good thing.  Face it mushers have been alone with their teams and the thoughts in their heads for miles, and are running on little to no sleep, which can make a musher pretty wonky. Continue reading

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